Bank Accounts For Kids

Find out what options are available for children’s bank accounts and compare with Savvy to find the best banking deal for your child.

Last updated on May 3rd, 2022 at 04:41 pm by Cate Cook

Compare bank accounts for kids

Encouraging your child to learn how to save money can be one of the harder aspects of parenting.  However, this task is made easier by innovative financial institutions who have come up with simple and fun online banking sites to help children learn this vital life skill.  Compare kids’ bank accounts with Savvy to help you find one that’s just right for your child’s needs.

What are bank accounts for kids?

These are bank accounts particularly designed for young people under the age of 18.  They often feature kid-friendly features such as colourful graphics, fun graphs or even games to help kids understand their banking.  Most bank accounts for youth are website and phone app-based, while some also include ATM access when the child is old enough to have a debit card linked to their account.  Bank accounts for kids with a card generally start issuing cards for children from the age of 12 upwards.

Online bank accounts for kids tend to be very user-friendly and include many educational games which help children understand concepts such as saving money, paying interest and sticking to spending limits. 

What is different about bank accounts for kids?

A key feature of youth accounts is that they generally don’t charge account opening fees, application fees or ongoing account fees.  They may also offer incentives to encourage children to save money, with special deals available if certain conditions or targets are met with regard to withdrawals and deposits into the account. For example, many children’s bank accounts offer a bonus interest rate if the closing balance at the end of the month is higher than at the start of the month, or if no withdrawals from the account are made during the month.  Other incentives which may attract bonus interest rates include a minimum deposit into the account per month.  For instance, if $50 is deposited into the account that month, a bonus additional interest rate of 0.4% applies for the balance of the account.

What paperwork will I need to open a kids’ bank account?

This will depend on whether you’re opening the account with a bank or building society or credit union where you’re already a known customer, or if you’re approaching a new bank where you’re unknown. 

If you’re a known customer at the bank, to open a joint account with a child (or on behalf of a baby) you’ll need the child’s birth certificate plus photo ID for yourself, such as a driver’s licence.  Some banks stipulate two forms of ID are required for the child, so it is common practice for schools to issue a standard letter for parents to use at banks confirming the child’s name, date of birth and residential address plus other contact details if known (such as parents’ names and phone contact numbers).

If you’re intending to open an online bank account for a kid where you aren’t a known client, you may need to provide 100 points of ID as a new adult customer to the bank.  This may include one or two primary photographic documents such as a passport, driver’s licence or proof of age card, plus another secondary ID form such as a birth certificate, citizen certificate, pension card, Medicare card, utility bill or bank statement.

What are the legal age milestones for kids and banking?

Birth to age 11

From birth to 11 years of age, bank accounts for babies and kids have to have a parent or adult as a joint account holder.

Age 12

This is the legal age at which a child can open a bank account in their own name in Australia (although some of the big major banks have their own minimum age limit of 13 or 14 for independent kids’ accounts).

Age 13

Debit cards (with no credit facility) are widely available at age 13 if a parent is a co-signatory to the account, although some banks and building societies do now issue pre-paid debit cards at age 12 for joint kids’ accounts.

Age 14

A teenager is permitted to have a youth bank account with a debit card (but no credit facility) linked to their sole account without parental permission.

Age 16

Many joint parent/child accounts allow the child to disable or switch off parental control once the age of 16 is reached (or remove the need for the parent to be a co-signatory to the account).

Age 18

At 18 years of age, an Australian citizen is legally considered to be an adult and can open bank accounts and be offered credit in their own name.

More of your frequently asked questions about bank accounts for kids

What features should I compare when choosing the right bank account for my kids?
  • The best bank accounts for kids offer these features:
  • No account opening/establishment fees plus no ongoing fees
  • Bonus higher interest rates if savings conditions are met
  • Parental controls on the account for a young child
  • The ability to link a debit card when the child reaches the age of 12 or 13
  • The ability to use the debit card to make ATM withdrawals
  • Good educational resources including savings games available online
What conditions have to be met for a child to open their own bank account in Australia?

Legally, a child has to be 12 years of age or over to open a bank account solely in their name.  They will need to show a copy of their birth certificate. They also have to be a resident in Australia and have a permanent residential address and phone number.  However, some banks and building societies impose their own age limits of 13 or even 14 as the minimum age for a teenager to open an account solely in their name.  

What happens to kids’ bank accounts when they reach 18?

Funds in kids’ accounts are usually switched over into standard adult accounts once the customer reaches the age limit of 18, but the bank or credit union will contact the young person before their 18th birthday to discuss how the account is to be rolled over.  Some financial institutions now offer youth bank accounts which stretch from age 12 to 21 or even 25 to avoid the necessity to change accounts once they turn 18.

Do children get a credit rating like adults do?

No, credit reporting does not start in Australia until an individual has reached 18 years of age because it is illegal to offer a credit product to a child under that age.

What is a sweep facility and is it a good thing?

A sweep facility is where a child has two or more accounts, such as a transaction account and a savings account.  When a pre-determined dollar level is reached in their everyday account, the excess funds are automatically ‘swept’ into the child’s savings account.  In this way, the child can receive their pocket money in their transaction account and when they’ve saved up $50, for instance, that money is automatically transferred into their savings account.  Some sweep accounts offer bonus interest if the sweep target is met each month, and some allow the sweep process to happen on a set day or date at a regular time.